NASA has postponed the deadline for its Artemis III moon mission to ‘no earlier than’ 2025. The mission was previously scheduled for 2024. According to the space agency, the postponement is due to lawsuits between NASA, SpaceX and Blue Origin.
NASA director Bill Nelson told US media this week that the timeline for the next moon landing with crew has shifted. The space agency acknowledges that the initial 2024 deadline was unachievable. “The Trump administration’s goal of landing people on the moon by 2024 was not based on technical feasibility,” Nelson said.
The director added that NASA and SpaceX, which produces the lunar lander for the mission, were affected by Blue Origin’s lawsuit. That company has repeatedly protested against the collaboration between NASA and SpaceX, because the American space agency normally provides contracts to multiple companies, but this time chose to work only with SpaceX due to budget constraints.
The court ruled earlier this month that the contract between the two parties is not illegal, but Blue Origin’s legal actions have delayed work on Artemis III. “We’ve lost nearly seven months in lawsuits, and that probably pushed the moon landing to no earlier than 2025,” Nelson told press. There is currently no more concrete timeline; that has yet to be discussed with SpaceX, according to the NASA head.
It is the first time the space agency has officially confirmed to the media that the initial 2024 deadline is unachievable, although NASA previously hinted that it would. The organization stated in a report in August that the moon mission in 2024 may not be feasible, because the spacesuits are not yet ready.
The US government announced in 2019 that it wants to land astronauts on the moon again by 2024. This has now been postponed until 2025 at the earliest. NASA recently also postponed its Artemis I test mission to early next year. During that mission, a Space Launch System rocket without a crew must circumnavigate the moon and then return to Earth.